Citing front office sources, Ramona Shelburne and Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com reported on Wednesday that the Lakers are looking to make a runs at Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James in 2014 if they decide to become free agents. Per the report, the organization is positioning itself to afford either Anthony or James (or even both) by "refusing to commit to any contract past this next season."
Such a financial plan might make the Lakers' upcoming negotiations with five-time NBA champ Kobe Bryant more interesting. Next season is the final year of his Kobe's contract, in which he's set to make $30,453,805, per Basketball Reference.
Last week, Kobe told Lakers Nation that he has no plans on taking a pay cut.
“For me to sit here and say, ‘Oh yeah, I’m just going to take a huge pay cut. Nah, I’m going to try to get as much as I possibly can," Bryant said. "I’m not taking any at all. That’s the negotiation that you have to have."
Although he is currently recovering from an Achilles injury, Bryant said earlier in July that he feels "pretty damn confident I can be at a high level for at least another three years."
For his part, James wouldn't rule out entering free agency during the summer of 2014 after Heat won its second straight NBA championship.
"This is what we came here for, so that would be the ultimate," James said of the his second title and the possibility of a Heat dynasty in June, before going leaving open the possibility that things could change. "But you can never ... I don't know, life changes, things happen, and we have to be prepared for that."